Friday, April 8, 2016


I'm not sure watching FoodTV is the best idea. I'm really, really, really hungry. I truly cannot imagine how anyone does this for more than a day. Hell, I'm not even sure I can make it a full day yet. I was hoping that the fact that these Invigoration Cleanse juices don't actually skimp on sugar would mean I'd have no problem sticking to just juice, but I'm really struggling. I probably just need to go to bed sooner rather than later. But I still have another cashew milk "juice" and I'm sure as hell not missing that. I'm having ALL OF MY JUICES, DAMNIT.

They are talking about DUCK FAT on FoodTV. Why am I doing this to myself? OMG.

I would so break this cleanse for duck fat tater tots and a cocktail at Merchant's in downtown Nashville. The fact that I live in rural western-Kentucky is totally saving my cleanse right now.

I just want to at least last a full day. No booze, no food, just water and the cleanse drinks. Okay, and I had a cup of coffee, but there was coffee IN this cleanse, anyway. That is totally legit.

The Blue Print juices are smooth as hell, and most of them have been downright delicious. I would love to have easy access to them, not so much for the purpose of cleansing (I really don't dig the liquid diet. I miss chewing) but as a super healthy daily addition to my diet, when I don't have the chance to juice at home or break out the Vitamix for a green smoothie.

Okay - drinking my last one now, so we have a breakdown of the day:

At 7:30am I had a fresh squeezed lemon in room temperature water, which is how I've started almost every single day for the past five years or so. I taught a yoga class at 8am, and drank a ton of water during and after. My morning was a bit chaotic; I didn't get to my first juice until after 10am. I had a massage after work and didn't get to my fourth juice until a bit late, which didn't give me time to wait at least two hours between the last two juices, and I'm also planning to be in bed by midnight, which, according to the Blue Print folks, isn't idea (you're supposed to have your last juice two hours before going to bed) but hey - the fact that I actually made it through this is enough to celebrate! Now I just have to NOT bounce back hard - tomorrow needs to be full of nutrients and chewing, NOT binging.

I'll be interested to see how I feel tomorrow! If nothing else, it will feel good to be fully hydrated.

Now I better go to bed before I end up eating chips. I've actually done it! I managed a full one-day Blue Print cleanse!! WOO-HOO!


Days 3 and 4 and onto 5.

Oh, man. I wish I could write up the past two days and say that I stuck with all of my intentions and do another checklist of being awesome, and yet at the same time, I hope that my #realityyogi experience helps someone out there wanting to chuck it all because they fucked up. I don't believe in fucking up, anyway - I think it's all about balance and staying present moment by moment to what is happening -- I didn't fuck up, per se, but I did adjust based on what was going on in my life.

On Wednesday I followed the Blue Print Inspiration Cleanse through juice #4. And then I met the family for sushi, which was my niece Lily's choice because she had her sedated MRI the next day, and - I'll own up to it - I had beer and sushi. My sister and I talked and decided that it would make more sense to do day #2 of the cleanse on Friday seeing as we would traveling two hours round trip and be stuck most of the day waiting at the hospital for Lily on Thursday, so yesterday I started the day with lemon water and juice #5 from the Inspiration Cleanse, had a turkey-bacon breakfast sandwich and a non-fat cappuccino from Starbucks for breakfast, a big salad from the hospital cafeteria salad bar for lunch, and a steak, salad, and baked potato for dinner. It was a long, stressful day, and I can honestly say it was the right adjustment to make; I can't fathom being on a juice cleanse under the kind of emotional and physical stress that Lily's MRI days involve. And all told, it wasn't an awful day in terms of food, and I did stay hydrated.

So today, Friday, we're back at it. I'm following the Blue Print Invigoration Cleanse, and so far (I'm two juices in) it feels like a walk in the freakin' park compared to the Invigoration Cleanse. Which is not surprising; even the Blue Print folks point out that the Inspiration Cleanse, with its five green juices, is no joke and not for beginners. I was just attracted to all of those green juices and excited about watercress and dandelion (two things I certainly can't get where I live.) I would love to be able to incorporate those juices into my normal diet, but even the Breville juicer, which is supposed to be one of the best, doesn't do a great job with greens.

In any event, the coffee, cashew, cinnamon, and vanilla drink that I started out with this morning was absolutely decadent, honestly. The apple, lemon, cayenne, and ginger I just had was phenomenal. I was feeling hungry before I drank it, and I actually feel surprisingly satisfied now.

So today, day 5, my plan is to be super clean - no booze, no food, just this juice. Part of me wishes I could have a do-over on the Inspiration Cleanse because I really only lasted 12 hours/4 juices, but at least I can give this one a fair shot. I have a busy day at the studio - three classes, two privates, and a to-do list a mile long, but I'm going to have a massage after I close up here, and then take it really easy tonight. I haven't though through tomorrow yet, which I need to do at some point; Saturday is actually my busiest day at the studio and I need to stay fueled. I'll probably pack a green smoothie, some sardines, and see what vegetables I have on hand. I'll take Sunday off to get organized for the whole foods cleanse Kathryn Budig has in her new book, Aim True.

Namaste, friends.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Day 2 - aiming true

I have to admit that the preparation and work it takes to maintain a clean diet is INTENSE. I feel like I spent most of my time today in the kitchen cooking or washing dishes, or in the grocery store, or in the car getting from my kitchen to the grocery store and back again. The good news is that I have two prep-free days ahead - Rhian and I are embarking on two days of the BluePrint Cleanse. But that's also the bad news, because I'm really not sure I can possibly manage living on juice alone for two days - especially the first day - we're doing the Inspiration Cleanse which is five green juices and one cashew milk drink. On Thursday we're trying the Invigoration Cleanse which includes a coffee drink right off the bat, and has a beet juice and two lemon based juices. I'm looking forward to both days, although truth be told, I'm not giving up my three shots of espresso either day, or a glass or two of red wine at the end of the day, unless I feel really inspired for some reason to do so. Honestly, I am a big advocate of SUSTAINABLE, do-able changes, and after all of these years going up and down the scale, even while maintaining a relatively vigorous asana practice, I just know that when I go to far one direction, I tend to bounce over the other way. So with THAT said, if I need some quinoa and vegetables at the end of the day, in addition to six juices, I'm not going to go to into starvation mode. We'll just see. I am INCREDIBLY excited, though - I have wanted to do the BluePrint cleanse for FOREVER. I almost can't believe I finally have these juices in my possession!

So here is how today went.

I got 8 hours of sleep. Check.
I oil-pulled with coconut oil. Bonus check!
I had lemon and lime water and said hello to the sun. Check.
I drank more than enough water. Check.
I walked 30 minutes in the park. Check. GORGEOUS day.
I meditated for 10 minutes, and will mediate for 10 more minutes before bed.
I ate on point:
12:30pm-juice (beet, apple, carrot, ginger, lemon, beet greens) and a smoothie (parsley, beet greens, orange, grapes, lime, ginger, cayenne pepper, coconut water, flaxseed oil). Espresso.
5:15pm-spoonful of almond butter
8pm-salad (spinach and spring mix) with avocado and carrot/ginger dressing.
8:30pm-Easy Creamy Quinoa from Kathryn Budig's new book, Aim True, with sautéed kale, cabbage, and asparagus. Red wine.
11:30pm-apple with sunbutter
I had a shot of ACV and turmeric and crunched a few black peppercorns after dinner.
I took my probiotics. BAM.

So tomorrow it's juice and juice and juice (and juice and juice and...more juice) - two classes, two important meetings, and a massive to-do list. Given how clean and nourishing I've eaten the past two days, and the walking I've added in the past three days, I feel relatively prepared for a day of juice. Time will tell.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Spring Cleanse 2016 - Day One

I am fascinated by the patterns I see in my life. Thinking back on it today, I realized that it's not uncommon at all for me to move into a space of cleansing and rejuvenating during the spring. That's the positive spin; the more realistic spin is that between Thanksgiving and Easter I seem to do nothing but eat, and by the time April rolls around, I'm physically uncomfortable in my body and need to refocus on healthy choices. #realityyogi for the win.

But, it's all about balance. Someone once said to me, "everything in moderation, including moderation." I think that's a really good rule of thumb.

So this week I am focusing my practice on the following:

1) 8 hours of sleep a night
2) 20 minutes (minimum) of meditation a day
3) Clean eating; vegetables, healthy fats, fruits, protein (fish/chicken/beans), gluten-free grains (quinoa, brown rice, etc.)
4) lemon water every morning, apple cider vinegar/turmeric/black pepper every night.
5) water-water-water (fully hydrated every day)
6) 30 minute walk outside every day

Today I had:
9am-lemon water and coffee
11am-smoothie (orange, grapes, spinach, lime, ginger, cayenne, flax oil, coconut water)
2pm-sardines (wild planet)
4:30pm-spinach salad with red onion, avocado, and homemade carrot-ginger dressing / spoonful of almond butter
8:45pm-chicken-kale-quinoa soup / champagne (balance, remember?)
11:30pm-spoonful of tamari

This month marks the first anniversary of teaching yoga in my own studio location. The last year has been an absolute blur, and yet it feels like I've been doing this forever. I'm so caught up in the day to day (to day to day) of building this business, and so focused on short term goals and managing the non-stop unexpected issues that need to be dealt with, that sometimes it's hard to stay present or to create the time to reflect. I keep trying to find the time to assess the last quarter, and to game plan for the next quarter, while simultaneously thinking about the future, and also managing the many other layers of my life... suffice to say I COMPLETELY understand the overwhelm my students and clients talk about and struggle with, and am living proof of the power of the practices I teach. Because god knows I would not be remotely sane without my yoga and meditation practices. ;)

In honor of my teacher, Kathryn Budig, it's Aim-True April at hOMe. Kathryn's brand new book, Aim True, came out last week, and it's absolutely beautiful. There is a 5-day cleanse in the book that looks fan-freakin-tastic, although a shit-ton of grocery shopping and cooking. I'm going to try to pull it off next week, though. It's three fabulous meals and two snacks every day, and the kind of food I love (like a maple roasted brussels sprouts bowl, and baked avocado eggs, and steamed artichokes with lemon butter and wild arugula and peach salad...OMG YUM)

Sunday, May 31, 2015

roller in the coaster and shine in the sun

This is Lily. She loves life more than anyone I know, never misses an opportunity to jump in a muddy puddle, obsesses over animals, (particularly dogs) and is always up for a dance party. She wakes up happy every single day; her eyes open and her sweet smile is never far behind.

She also has Tuberous Sclerosis Complex. Up until now it has not had a discernible effect on her life beyond having to take blood pressure medication daily.

She is a treasure.

 One day, Lily sent this video to her favorite musician, Justin Roberts.

And then this happened:

And then this:
And this:
And every single other song on her list happened, too. This also happened:
I think the THANK YOU is pretty clear.

As terrified as we all for what might happen when my niece Lily was born and transported via life-flight helicopter to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital on October 12, 2009, the last five years have been fairly uneventful in terms of her health. Despite her diagnosis with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) in utero Lily has developed normally, and blossomed into a vibrant, loving, hilarious, and compassionate human being with a zest for life that is unmatched. This child wakes up happy, excited for even the most mundane details of the day ahead. She is just an absolute joy. To know her is to love her, truly.

Lily LOVES Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players. She has always seemed to hear and experience music and lyrics on a different level than other kids, and has developed a very specific connection with Justin Roberts. We had been counting down to his concert at Kenyon for MONTHS when the results of Lily's yearly MRI came back. After so many years of "see you in 6 months" we never expected her nephrologist to say she needed surgery. For a moment it wasn't even clear that she'd even get to go to Ohio at all. Thankfully, her nephrologist cleared her to fly and surgery was scheduled the week after the concert. The entire trip took on a poignancy that was, at times, painful.

I am so lucky to count Justin Roberts, Liam Davis, and Gerald Dowd friends, and when I let them know about Lily's situation, Justin immediately asked what her favorite songs were. I am so grateful to Justin, Liam, and Gerald for making Lily feel recognized, seen, and loved. I took as much video of the concert as my iPhone would hold, knowing how precious the memories would be, even as I tried to stay present as they were happening.

And so sweet Lily is having surgery this week. Two of the cysts in her right kidney are dangerously large, and have to be drained. Because of her medical situation, after surgery the only pain medication she is permitted to have is Tylenol. She will begin a course of treatment upon recovering from the surgery that has potentially nasty side-effects, in order to (hopefully) suppress the growth of both new and existing kidney cysts.

It's hard for me to wrap my mind around what is ahead. It's heart-breaking and terrifying and unfair and overwhelming. Lily is too young to fully understand what is happening, but she is very scared.

Because people have asked, I thought I would go ahead and offer a mailing address for Lily this week. If you'd like to send something her way (she is heading to Memphis on Monday, surgery is scheduled for Wednesday, and they expect to be there until Saturday) you can do so via the following address:

Lillian Solise
c/o FedEx Family House
918 Poplar Avenue
Memphis, Tennessee  38105

"...the road up ahead might be a rocky one but we'll get it done, then we'll roller in the coaster and shine in the sun."

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


For the first time in four years I am serving a traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, making everything from scratch, and I couldn’t be more excited. Maybe it's a testament to the benefit of taking a break from tradition. For years I have told just about anyone who would listen that Thanksgiving is the most overrated holiday meal of the year; over-hyped, anti-climactic, and chock full of boring, heavy, bland food. The last time I prepared a full traditional dinner I really tried to prove myself wrong, driving all the way to Nashville to buy an over-priced free-range, organic, local, Ph.D holding turkey from Whole Foods and the equally over-priced William-Sonoma brining bags and brine mix everyone on the Internet was swearing by. I made picture perfect red potatoes, cut in half with a full sage leaf carefully pressed into the fleshy skin before roasting. And of course all of the other usual suspects were on the table. It was good. I’m sure some people would have called it great. But I was unimpressed. It was a shit-load of work (especially that whole wet-brine deal) for very little pay off. I couldn't tell a differnce in the turkey from any other Thanksgiving turkey I'd ever had or made. The next year, having decided to put my own culinary energy into a Christmas feast (which I will ALWAYS, always, ALWAYS do, no matter what I do on Thanksgiving, see exhibt A here), I catered Thanksgiving dinner from Whole Foods, and hit a deer on the highway on my way back home from picking it up on the night before Thanksgiving. The turkey and I both survived the terrifying wreck, but my beloved Honda did not. I think that soured me even more on Thanksgiving, and for the next two years I wouldn’t touch a turkey with a 10-foot pole. We made our own sushi feast one year, complete with the most beautiful sushi-grade tuna you’ve ever seen, and did a Thai extravaganza the next year, with fresh rolls meticulously crafted by hand, fish curry, and ice-cream on top of sweet sticky rice. Happy Thanksgiving to the Lowbridge-Solise family!
Not our Thanskgiving sushi feast from 2011, but a sushi feast nonetheless.
Now it has been four years since I last wrestled with a turkey (and reminisced about the one and only fight my parents had each and every year, or at least the one and only fight we were privy to. We'd hear them from our bedrooms before the sun was up arguing about how to clean and prepare the turkey), and I’m ready to give it the old college try again, and prove to myself that a traditional Thanksgiving dinner can be thrilling, delicious, and worth every last bit of hype thrown at it. The challenge? I’m also staying local for all ingredients (no trips to the Fresh Market in Evansville or the Whole Foods in Nashville – if I can’t find it at Walmart, Kroger, or Marketplace in Madisonville, Kentucky, it isn’t gonna be on the table), and keeping the budget under $200 from start to finish. I’m dry-brining a 20 pound bird this year (it’s all the rage in the foodie world, I’m told) using my own combination of the LA Food Section’s Zuni Café inspired method, and a garlic-herb rub from Bon Appetit (minus the salt & sugar) for the last 8 hours when the birds sits uncovered in the fridge, plus the good-old herbed butter under the skin technique I mastered back in 2009 (if you’ve never had your entire forearm underneath the skin on a turkey, you haven’t lived). There will be mashed potatoes and homemade gravy, there will be sweet potato biscuits and cornbread stuffing (I made the cornbread this morning), and, a tip of the hat to my mother: a traditional French’s green bean casserole (but I’m frying my own onions, doncha know). We’ll have the creamy-Dijon braised Brussels sprouts I made for an after-Thanksgiving dinner party last year, and a new cranberry technique – an uncooked relish with lime and bourbon. My sister is making a pecan pie, complete with her signature gluten-free pie crust that you’d never guess was gluten-free. Don’t tell my sister (I already had to convince her we NEEDED the green bean casserole), but I’m thinking that we’d be remiss not to have a pumpkin pie on the table, and I am probably going to burn the midnight oil making one tonight. I don’t even like pumpkin pie (or any pie for that matter – shhh, I KNOW) but now that I’m in the zone it seems silly to leave it (and the iconic can of Redi-Whip) out. I’m truly hopeful that this meal is going to blow my mind, and that I’ll be joining the chorus of die-hard Thanksgiving fans who sing the praises of this meal so beautifully. It really might – a lot of these are tried-and-true recipes we’ve used for non-Thanksgiving dinner parties that I already know I love. I think it’s really going to come down to the turkey, and based on my research, the dry-brine thing is a winner. Cross your fingers, and let me know what kind of Thanksgiving you are having this year!

Beer and wine: assortment. I like Pinot Noir with turkey, but I’ll have some white on hand, too.

Pecan pie
Pumpkin pie (maybe)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

On Eggs.

I have four very specific, early memories of eating eggs. All are from when I was four or five years old. I remember eating fried eggs at the dining room table at 1073 Allston Road in Cleveland Hts., Ohio with my dad. The eggs were fried the way my dad would later teach me to fry eggs: in a pan of hot fat (butter, oil, or on special occasions- BACON FAT) on med-low heat. When the whites are mostly cooked, tip the pan carefully so that you can spoon the hot fat over the egg until a nice film forms over the yolk. My dad served the perfectly fried eggs with "soldiers" - a piece of toast cut into half-inch strips, perfect for dipping in the runny yolk. But I so vividly remember that on that same morning he also taught me that if you ever were without bread, the proportion of white to yolk was just right to dip your bites of the white INTO the yolk and never have a bite of one without the other. He had me eat one of my fried eggs with the toast "soldiers" and the second practicing taking the right amount of white and yolk together to eat the egg just right. In retrospect, his upbringing in post-war England is strikingly obvious, but at the time I truly learned it as a lesson - we were lucky to have bread. Perhaps most children of fathers born in the UK in the 1940s learned to count their blessings in a similar fashion. Brilliant parenting, if you ask me.

My second memory is my dad making me soft-boiled eggs and serving them in egg cups, while simultaneously introducing me to great literature, religious warfare, and satire by using it as an opportunity to discuss Gulliver's Travels, big-endians, and little-endians. "But that's so silly," I probably would have said when he explained that deciding a right and wrong end from which to crack open your soft-boiled egg (by tapping it demurely with a knife, of course) was reason for a divide between people. "That's the bloody point," he probably would have said.

I learned the upside of differing opinions via this third memory: my cousin Pam, 3.5 years my elder and the person I looked up to and loved more than just about anyone in the whole wide world, to whom I'd later pen long hand-written letters during my teenage years and save quarters to call from the pay phone outside of Dublin High School, with whom I'd share a real "Best Friends" split-heart necklace eventually, my cousin Pam and I were sitting against the wall in my playroom at Allston Road, each with our own hard-boiled egg. "I don't like the yolks," Pam said. "I don't like the whites!" I responded, gleefully. The answer was clear. Two yolks for me, two whites for Pam, and we could get back to playing the imaginary world we had decided upon together and were functioning in quite happily until my mom interrupted us with this annoying thing called lunch.